‘The Plot’ by Jean Hanff Korelitz – A Crime Thriller About the Writing of Fiction


‘The Plot’ by Jean Hanff Korelitz (2021) – 320 pages

Our main character in ‘The Plot’, Jake Finch Bonner, had his first novel listed in the New York Times New & Noteworthy section. His second was nowhere near as successful. Now, having not written much of anything for three years, he is teaching creative writing at the small Ripley college campus and desperately trying to come up with a subject for another novel. Jake Finch Bonner has been relegated to “the special purgatory of formerly promising writers”.

What was out there, in 2013, for a writer whose two tiny patches of real estate on the great cumulative shelf of American fiction were being left farther and farther behind with each passing year?”

Where can Jake possibly find an engaging plot?

Our author here of ‘The Plot’, Jean Hanff Korelitz, knows this publishing industry whereof she writes. We get a cynical but entirely realistic take on the book writing, publishing, and reviewing industry.

People don’t realize you can’t copyright a plot.”

Beyond plagiarism or plot-theft, this story raises a fascinating question. What if an author wrote a work of fiction, and, accidentally or not, it resembled the real life story of someone so extremely closely and that person didn’t like the way their life was presented?

‘The Plot’ itself pushes many of the buttons required to be a best seller. It’s got a brisk jaunty style and a catchy unique ultimately scary plot and it’s not so deep as to scare ordinary readers away. And then Jake finds romance. Later, at its climax, it has spine-tingling suspense. What more can a reader ask for?

The plot of ‘The Plot’ is not very deep and quite improbable. No, this is not the next ‘Madame Bovary’, but it is bestseller-y enough. Last week, ‘The Plot’ was number 13 on the NYT bestseller list. This week it is missing from the list. I will be watching the list for the next few weeks.

Stephen King called ‘The Plot’ “insanely readable”. Yes, this is a novel that could give even Stephen King a run for his money. Think ‘Misery’.


Grade:   A-



4 responses to this post.

  1. This one is on my list, and it sounds like something I’d enjoy at the right moment.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. I’ve been seeing the buzz about this and must admit it’s tempting. I’m usually at least a year or two behind the curve in my reading selections, however, so if I follow my usually pattern I’ll get to this around 2024!

    Liked by 1 person


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